Groundwater Dipping Fast In Urban Areas Of Pb & Hry Too, Real Estate News, ET RealEstate

July 21, 2023

CHANDIGARH: Contrary to the perception that rapid depletion of groundwater is occurring only in the agricultural-dominated rural areas of Punjab and Haryana, the urban areas of both water-stressed states too are witnessing a high rate of fall in water levels, pointing to indiscriminate extraction of water for commercial, residential, and other purposes.

While the critical issue of rapidly declining water levels demands immediate attention and enforcement of sustainable water management practices to secure water resources for the future, the respective governments of both states have done little to address this pressing issue. This could potentially lead the region towards a severe water crisis.

Based on the water level data collected by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) in May 2023 and compared with the decadal (2013-2022) average for the same month, the situation in Punjab has worsened significantly where the rate of replenishment is lower than extraction. Most of the examined wells showed lower water levels compared to the average levels observed during the last decade (2013-2022) for the same month.

Out of the 62 wells examined across five districts in Punjab — Patiala (16), Ludhiana (14), Jalandhar (13), Amritsar (12) and Mohali (7) — it was observed that the rate of water depletion in four districts exceeded the rate of recharge, according to information tabled in the ongoing session of Lok Sabha by the Ministry of Jal Shakti in response to a question by Bhartruhari Mahtab of Biju Janata Dal (BJD). The data showed that the water levels went down by 0-2m in 24 wells, 2-4m in 10 wells and more than 4m in 8 wells while a rise of 0-2m was recorded in 16 wells, 2-4m in 3 and more than 4m in 1 well.

In the neighbouring state of Haryana, of the 53 wells examined in Ambala (35), Yamunanagar (15) and Faridabad (3), 22 (41.50%) showed a dip in groundwater levels. The drop between 0-2m was noted in 15 wells while the levels depleted 2-4m in 3 wells and above 4m in 4 wells.

The ministry informed the House that the groundwater level in urban areas of certain parts of the country are declining because of continuous withdrawal necessitated by increased demand for freshwater for various uses, arising out of vagaries of rainfall, rise in population, industrialisation and urbanisation.

As water is a state subject, the efforts to effectively harvest rainwater including sustainable groundwater management fall under the states’ mandate, however, the central government has also initiated a few steps. The central government is in the process of implementing the Atal Bhujal Yojana in water stressed areas of many states which include Haryana. The aim is to manage demand through scientific means involving local communities at village levels.

  • Published On Jul 21, 2023 at 03:00 PM IST

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